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4 min. read
Noortje Vollenberg
Last update: 29-06-2021

What IoT has to offer for industrial robots, service and people

How IoT improves productivity, increases lifespan and optimises maintenance of PLC robots

Robots and cobots have completely revolutionized manufacturing processes all around the globe. IFR expects a 10% growth of industrial robotics in 2020. A lot of companies use industrial robots because they offer a quick ROI and pay for themselves with consistent efficiency. Robots are the new dedicated employees.

They’re capable of performing repetitive and challenging or heavy tasks, such as palletizing, with an unprecedented level of precision and speed. Additionally, industrial robots are now equipped with human capabilities like memory, sensing, trainability and dexterity. This has resulted in robots taking on more sophisticated jobs like assembling, packaging, testing and inspection. 

These innovations have led to higher demands to monitor the robot’s state, optimise their productivity and find easier ways to control or programme them. 

That is where IoT, or rather IoRT, comes in.

What is the Internet of Robotic Things?

The IoT and robotics communities are coming together to create The Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT). The IoRT is a concept where smart technology, which is built-in to the robot or located in smart devices around them, can monitor what events are happening, collect their (sensor) data and use intelligence to decide on actions to manipulate or control objects in the physical world.

The IoT is a network of devices that are connected to the internet. These items are an essential driver for customer-facing innovation, data-driven optimisation, new applications, digital transformation, business models and revenue streams across all industrial sectors.

IoT offers great possibilities for industrial robots and collaborative robots (cobots), but why do you need it?

Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT) Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT)

Why IoT in industrial robotics?

IoT is the main enabler of more productive and efficient robots. It helps you to:

  • Connect services and collect data of PLC robots
    The data is collected from robots worldwide using edge technology, and transferred to a global and safe cloud environment.
  • Remotely access the robots
    Quick and secure access to robot controllers and connected equipment lets you react to performance-related or unexpected issues remotely. Remote access makes your engineers’ expert knowledge instantly accessible from your office, as if you were standing directly next to the controller.
  • Condition monitoring of robots
    24/7 monitoring and diagnostics service ensures a faster reaction time, higher efficiency, and better preparation for on-site service calls and support.
  • Fleet assessment
    Identify the hardest working robots in your fleet and prioritize their service needs. This limits the risk of critical failures in your production line and effectively extends the lifetime of your robot equipment.
  • Optimise robot assets
    Periodical analysis can help identify components or software which are not performing at optimal levels. Advise your customers on how to avoid events that can cause downtime and improve performance. This leads to fewer incidents, and faster response time and issue resolution.

These are ways how IoT is applied in robotics. Below you’ll find the benefits of an Industrial IoT platform to manage your robots and cobots.

7 benefits of IoT for robots and cobots

Most industrial PLC robots are ready to be connected and this unlocks a world of new opportunities in predictive, proactive and immediate support. 

Explore 7 benefits of IoT for industrial robots and cobots:

  1. Zero down time
    Stagnation costs money. Preventive alarms and worldwide access to your robots make sure the robot’s unplanned downtime is limited to zero. 
  2. Remote robot arm monitoring
    Get instant access to the robot’s web server to view the rotations of the robot’s arms on your PC or tablet.
  3. Maintenance reminders
    No more unprepared service visits when malfunctions occur. Get notified when you need to schedule your maintenance trip and be ahead of it. 
  4. Robot programming from outside the factory
    Apply process changes via remote programming. Get full network access remotely via a secure VPN connection.
  5. Operating time analysis
    Collect data when robots are active or in stand-by mode, and analyse it for improvements. 
  6. HMI controlling on your smartphone
    Quick changes or actions can be made using the robot’s HMI. Using VNC technology this can even be done on your smartphone from anywhere.
  7. Real-time robot data visualisation
    A real-time data dashboard, generated by your robot’s data, makes life easier for operators. 

Conclusion: Using IoT in robotic automation results in more ways to improve productivity, increase the lifespan of your robots and optimise maintenance. It makes life easier for (service) engineers and operators everywhere. 

IoT for Industrial Robots IoT for Industrial Robots

Examples of using IoT in industrial robotics

Smart Robotics uses IoT to ensure a secure cloud connections to their robots for remote support and release new software to their robots on a monthly basis. Read their story here.

We can take control of the system and immediately help the customer find a suitable solution, even in China

Heico Sandee
Smart Robotics

Universal Robots works with IXON as their Industrial IoT partner to offer an extensive IIoT platform compatible with their robots. The partnership enables remote access (VPN), control of the teach pendant interface from smartphones worldwide, alarming and notifications, and easy-to-use data dashboards for their Universal Robots. Check out the connector and discover how to setup remote access for UR+ cobots.

Ready-to-use IIoT platform for robots: IXON Cloud

IXON Cloud is the world's first and only no-code Industrial IoT platform, specially designed for leading machine builders. With IXON Cloud your own IoT platform is within reach, all you have to do is create your free account and set it up according to your wishes. IXON is a universal solution for remote access & IoT for industrial robots and compatible with a wide range of robots/cobots brands like UR+, FANUC, Mitsubishi, ABB, Yaskawa, Doosan, Saywer, Hanwha and more. Get in touch to verify compatibility with your robot.


Enrich your robots with a customized cloud platform for optimal service and instantly applicable data insights. Use the IXrouter or IXagent the connect your PLC robot to the IXON Cloud and instantly resolve issues or offer targeted service to your customers. Or use the data to optimise your industrial robots. 

Get even more out of your robots. Create your free IXON Cloud account and explore the possibilities of IoT to reduce downtime and provide better service to your customers. Find out what IXON Cloud can do for your organization using our Free Product Tour.

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